tv NBC Nightly News NBC April 25, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
on our broadcast tonight, severe weather after hitting a big city airport hard. tonight, a big, bad weather system is off and running from west to east with more storms. direct hit. a nato air strike goes right at gadhafi's compound. was he the target? richard engle is live in libya tonight. good to go. gabrielle giffords gets the okay to watch her husband blast into space. tonight, we have an update on her condition and what she knows about the day of her shooting. homestretch. four days until the royal wedding now, and the happy couple aren't the only ones preparing. and it's back, the best web cam of all time up and running again. live and in color. fair warning, it's highly
addictive. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. we've already seen what the storm can do. and over the next three days, this one storm system and all its related offshoots will churn its way from west to east across this country. and before it's over, this storm system may impact 150 million americans. we have already set an all-time record for tornadoes in april alone. there's more flooding and severe weather on the way. as we said, 150 million of us will feel this storm and upwards of 30 separate states across 40 perseptember of the lower 48. we start off with two reports, beginning with john yang in st. louis. good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. officials say flights here are about 85% to 90% of normal today. tomorrow, they hope to return to
100%, but they say returning the terminal to normal will take months. today, business as usual at the st. louis airport. passengers coming and going as the work week begins. a far cry from how travelers along one row of gates watched the storm bear down on them. a security camera shows the fierce storm turning the concourse into a terrifying wind tunnel, sending big pieces of debris flying through the air. >> there was this gust of wind and then it came up into the checkpoint and windows were cracking and breaking, and glass went everywhere. >> reporter: nearly hamp the terminal's windows shattered, part of the roof peeled off, jetways crushed. >> all the alarms started going off, and people were spooked, and the tsa members came running down saying get into the bathroom. get into the bathroom. at least two planes rode out the twister on the tarmac. >> we had been lifted from the gate and moved a good 15 to 20
feet from the gate. >> reporter: miraculously, no one was seriously injured. officials credited an early warning system. >> as police tried to say to people, ladies and gentlemen, we have to move to the shelters approved here in the airport, people didn't resist. >> reporter: across the area, people are picking up the pieces. the tornado tracked 22 miles, damaging more than 700 homes, destroying about 100. >> it seemed to me, two or three or five minutes of pure hell. >> reporter: one tornado upending thousands of lives. >> 30 seconds or less, everything was gone. >> reporter: tonight, more rain, more worries. in poplar bluff, missouri, about 150 miles southwest of here, officials are evacuating 1,000 people. the ground is so water logged, it's threatening a levee failure. >> john yang in st. louis, unbelievable scene at lambert field in st. louis.
now we go to little rock, arkansas, and meteorologist mike seidel. i almost hate to ask this after the tornado tempo this spring. what is going to come next and who is going to get hit by this? >> well, tonight, we're watching tornadoes in parts of nine states. we have tornado watches. another dangerous night. lightning flashing around us in little rock. and the pattern won't change for the next several days. take a look at what we have had so far in april. a lot of warm air off the gulf, temperatures in the 60s, 70s, even 80s. you bring in the jet stream, juiced up on steroids. diving south into the rockies, into the middle of the country, you have that dip. where that dip forms, it clashes with the skrus, the warm, juicy air from the gulf. you have change with the direction, the twisting and turning. and you have the twisters. the problem is the pattern is locked in and nothing is moving. more of the same not only tonight but tuesday and wednesday. take a look at the front, it's not moving. the red zone, you have the risk of tornadoes, large hail, and
straight-line storms with damage. and the flooding could be catastro catastrophic. we're keeping an eye on paducah, kentucky. by thursday, it will move off the east coast and we'll get a bit of a breather, but as we head into may, keep in mind may on average has more tornadoes than any other month on average. >> what a mean season so far. mike seidel in little rock for us. now overseas to the turmoil in the arab world on two fronts. first, the crackdown in syria gets deadly serious on government troops open fire on one southern town, and it's almost impossible to get accounts out of there of what happ happened. in libya, gadhafi's compound in tripoli has taken a direct hit from the air courtesy of nato, and tonight the question is whether gadhafi himself was the real target of that air strike. our chief war correspondent
richard engle covering both of those stories tonight for us from libya in benghazi. good evening. >> reporter: the nato offensive does appear to be picking up. even italy said it will now participate in air strikes against libya, its former close trading partner, as libya carried out a major part of the compound in central tripoli. u.s. officials say the bombing wasn't an assassination attempt, but if gadhafi would have been in the compound at the time, he would have been a legitimate target. it's an exceptionally fine line, perhaps intentionally so. a message delivered by two norwegian f-16s. they destroyed gadhafi's office, a library, and a hall. journalists taken to the site by government officials saw no evidence of military
instrustructure. this producer was among them. >> they're telling us this building used to host presidents, diplomats, and prime ministers. there's no munitions dump and no bunker. >> reporter: libyan officials say the attack was an attack to kill gadhafi who later appeared on television. and gadhafi's regime isn't the only one in the region feeling under threat. today, a major escalation in syria. the government sent in tanks and soldiers to crush the opposition in the southern city of dara. witnesses claim two dozen were killed as troops cut power and phones and searched houses. some protesters threw what looked like cans at the tanks. syria says it acted to stop an islamic militant group and that the people of dara asked to be, quote, liberated from terrorists. but amateur video shows it's the government terrorizing the syrian opposition.
firing this weekend on protesters. one man lifts his shirt to show he's unarmed. then appears to dive to the ground as shots ring out. >> reporter: it seems the message the government is sending to people is it's not going to be lenient and it will not tolerate any more protests. it's going to use all force possible, regardless of any international pressure or any outrage inside syria. >> reporter: a crackdown that has so far prompted little international condemnation and almost none from other arab states. the white house said today it is considering targeted sanctions against senior syrian officials, including freezing their assets. >> except for a few brave souls who are posting their video on the internet, it's so tough for you, for me, for western
journalists to get into syria and report the story. if the whole world isn't watching, doesn't that make it easier for asad to kill his own people? >> reporter: it certainly does. the images are getting out there, but only on cell phones or videos smuggled out of the country. the united states has very little influence over syria, can't do much to pressure it, but the arab states certainly do. so far, however, they have not been using the influence against the syrian regime. they're worried about another chaotic revolution, another popular revolution. the arab states still in power would like to see a major managed transition, brian. >> reporter: richard, thanks. there's a very discouraging report out of afghanistan tonight where so many americans, of course, are risking their lives on a daily basis. the taliban has pulled off a daring prison break, helping about 500 of their own fighters and leaders to escape through a long and sophisticated tunnel they had been digging for months from the outside of the prison, for almost half a mile, right into the main prison in southern
afghanistan. this is the same prison, by the way, where the taliban orchestrated an even larger prison break about three years ago. all of this as the afghans say they're ready and eager to take over security for their own country and their own affairs. the website wikileaks has released hundreds of classified military documents and this trove details conditions inside the u.s. prison gitmo, guantanamo bay in cuba. they reveal mest of the remaining prisoners, 172 individuals, to be exact, are a high risk of posing a threat to the u.s. if released. but the documents showed an even larger amount of prisoners who were also released were also designated high risk before they were freed or otherwise sent to other countries. it's been more than three months now since gabby giffords was shot when she met with constituents at a tucson,
arizona, grocery store. tonight, we have good news and information on her recovery. janet with us tonight from houston with that story. good evening. >> reporter: hi, brian. this is going to be a quick trip for her, but doctors say it's also a good break and a goal she's been working towards. it was news gabrielle giffords reportedly greeted with a fist pump and the word awesome. doctors calling her medically able to travel to florida's kennedy space center for friday's launch of the space shuttle "endeavour." it will be her first trip out of the hospital. she will watch the launch way out of public view. it will also reunite victims and heroes of the january attack. she's made remarkable progress in her rehabilitation and we saw no reason why she couldn't travel safely to florida. they said today, and there's new information about giffords' recovery. jamie rowe said giffords now knows others were killed and injured in the january rampage after grabbing a newspaper article from her husband's
hands. >> immediately, she was so upset and crying, and he comforted her and tried to talk to her about it, and she kept repeating, no, no, no, no, no. so many people, so many people. >> physically, giffords' hair is growing back, the long scar across his forehead is healing, and with limited use of her right side, gabby's become a lefty. for an upcoming special, giffords staffers told brian everything is going in the right direction. >> full recognition, full facial features, full verbal skills? >> no, she clearly has challenges. we're just three months after a severe injury to her brain, and we can't forget that. so she has physical and verbal challenges, but the great sense of optimism is coming from her rate of recovery. >> reporter: doctors say they're working with giffords on speaking in longer sentences, and they report she's very close to a real milestone, walking
independently. >> janet with urupdate from houston tonight. thanks. a surprise in the world of politics today. mississippi governor haley barbour announced he wouldn't run for president after all. he had already hired staffers, traveled to some early primary states, was talking the talk, and even shed a few pounds. he said supporters deserved no less than absolute fire in the belly. he said he couldn't offer that with certainty. when you come back, how do you protect thousands of well-wishers, hundreds of dignitaries, and one royal couple on a very big day? and it's a live picture of puppies sound asleep, and that's pretty much exactly the point.
and an event of this magnitude, as you might imagine, requires massive security preparations. nbc's stephanie gosk is with our nbc news team in london and is with us tonight from trafalgar square. stephanie, good evening. >> reporter: london police are used to securing big event. even for them, even for this city, the royal wedding is a daunting challenge. since the engagement was announced, london's police forces, like the couple themselves, have been getting ready. with four days go, security sweeps have already begun. nothing has been overlooked from storm drains to traffic lights. anything that could hide a potential threat. on the wedding day, there will be an army of officers, 5,000, patrolling the streets on foot and on horseback. on boats along the thames and in helicopters. there are already more security cameras in london than anywhere else in the world. their images will be sent back to central command and the man in charge.
>> this is going to be a global event. the cameras of the world are on it. that means publicity. and there are people out there who need publicity for their cause. they'll do their best to spoil the party if we let them. >> reporter: the threats run from terrorists, al qaeda blew up trains and buses here six years ago. to groups of protesters who smashed windows and battled police over government budget cuts, even attacking prince charles and camilla. there's an entire team dedicated to the mentally unhinged and the royal obsessed. many of their faces are known, but their behavior is unpredictable. >> they do present a risk to the safety, not only of the procession, but other people in the route. >> reporter: there are the wedding guests to protect as well. there will be 80 private protection teams. one of the biggest concerns is a possible bottleneck here at the entrance to the abbey. there will be dignitaries, heads of states, and celebrities waiting to get in. if they're stuck here, they will
be potentially vulnerable. experts say it's the biggest security operation since prince charles and diana's wedding 30 years ago. the chief inspector duncan molley was there. it was his first day on the job. after this wedding, he's retiring. >> it would be a really nice way to finish my time, to do the royal wedding. >> reporter: in 1981, there wasn't a single security incident. a success that london security forces even in a more dangerous world are determined to repeat. the metropolitan police say they're trying to strike a delicate balance between securing the event on one hand but not being so heavy-handed that they dampen the celebration. there will be plain-clothed police officers among the crowd and the heavily armed units will be close, but they'll be tucked away from view. >> stephanie gosk, part of our team in london on the ground preparing, and as you may have heard, they're having a wedding friday morning. so a reminder, nbc live coverage of the royal wedding begins 4:00 a.m. eastern time, 3:00 a.m. central. that would make it 1:00 a.m. on the west coast on friday.
♪ jerry lewis typing without a typewriter, which seemed so outlandish just a few years ago. but sadly, we have a passing to note here tonight. the typewriter itself. the folks at the atlantic are reporting the last typewriter manufacturer on earth has shut down. the factory was in mumbai, india. the company was 60 years old. it opened in the time of nayru. they sold tens of thousands of typewriters every year until the typewriter was killed off by the computer. there are still typewriter repair specialists for the die-hards who like to pound it
out old school. the annual easter egg roll at the white house gave the obamas a chance to have a few thousand of their closest friends over to the house. for a while there, it looked like the youngest daughter, sasha, could name about 500 things she would rather be doing, like playing with her friends, but she lit up on cue when her turn arrived for a dramatic reading of the book "where the wild things are." it also gave us a chance to hear the first daughters' voices for the first time in a long time. >> they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth. >> and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws. >> the theme of this year's rolling of the eggs, "get up and go," in keeping with first lady michelle obama's campaign against childhood obesity. up here next tonight, you're looking at something, or about to -- there it is -- highly addictive. cute as a bug, but known to waste hours of free time before you notice it's even gone.
see it, when mom comes in, they wake up. it's off the hook. among fans of web cams. puppy cam is the granddaddy of them all. actually more like the grandmother because when we noticed the san francisco family had fired up puppy cam again, we knew that meant this was a third litter for mom, and something for us to watch, in some cases for hours at a time. our report tonight from our dog lover, mike. >> reporter: in the two weeks since the litter was born, the number of visitors to the site following the breeding prowess of a female named kiko has now topped 27 million. it's a rare breed of japanese hunting dog, but this psychoanalyst said that's not what has so many people tuning in. >> it's free, calming, it allows us to escape some of the stresses of life. >> reporter: kiko's owners are a san francisco couple who have insisted on remaining anonymous. but when an internet broadcaster picked up a feed of the litter
back in 2008, streaming it live, a phenomenon was born. in the first week, 4 million viewers in 70 countries spent more than 1.2 million hours watching it online. context matters. then the economy had tanked, and by the time the litter had weaned, 15 million viewers had found a morsel of innocence in optimism in the puppy cam. if you're a fan of animal videos, the internet age gives you plenty of options, nesting eagles, elephants who paint self-portraits and any number of puppies, but even this emu can't keep her eyes off these particular pups. it's not about money although someone is marketing greeting cards and calendars, and the pups' images have spilled into other corners of the market. it's just about the simple images that trigger a simple response. nbc news, new york. >> you can try it but you have been warned. if you want to check it out, we have a link to it on our
website, nightly.msnbc.com. for now, that's our broadcast for this monday night. thank you for being here with us as we start a new week. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you back here with us tomorrow evening. good night. right now at 6:00, a new appeal in the prop 8 case. at the center of it all, what one judge said. just days of the the pg&e ceo announces he's stepping down, a change who will be paying for his multimillion-dollar retirement package. and how this could change how you get help in an emergency. the news at 6:00 starts right now.